Little White Lie….

So, I saw this picture on Open Mind Yoga’s Facebook page this morning:

The first four words that I saw were:

“Sweet.”

“Peaceful.”

“Witty.”

“Dependent.”

“Dependent?” No way – I looked again to see if I missed the letters “i-n” before “dependent.” No Joy. The yoga happy face of words was telling me that I was Sweet, Peaceful, Witty and Dependent. I clicked on “share” to paste the picture on my wall and wrote out the four words that described me. With the exception of “dependent.” I changed it to “independent.” I lied.

Why?

I didn’t want to own the word dependent. Not even in the jest of a silly word-search personality test. I didn’t want anyone to associate that word with me – ever.

“Dependent” has such a negative connotation in our culture. Dependent means “needy” or “pathetic” in the colloquial or more formally, “determined or conditioned by another” in Merriam-Webster.

Determined or conditioned by another. Now, I wonder if that is such a bad thing and if independence is such a high ideal for which we should be striving.

Instantly, I think of my favorite book of all time in which Gregory David Roberts, the author, states, “We know who we are and define what we are by references to the people we love and our reasons for loving them.”

I love that line. It makes me want to take my life and make it into a grid: family, friends, lovers – and plot myself on it. Then, I’ll add an overlay of hopes, heartbreaks, fears, emotions, dreams, truths, lies. This grid will be the key to understanding me – like a tightly woven tapestry – so simple in its elemental form, and so intricate when all the parts are brought together to form the whole.

I am dependent. I’m defined by who I love and my reasons for loving them. I need people and influences in my life to understand myself – don’t we all?

We exist in relation to our surroundings. Our stories are interwoven with those around us to such an extent that a lack of love in our life is just as strongly contributing a factor in our identity as a plethora of love.

Maybe you disagree.

I would challenge you to read the obituary section of your local paper. You’ll see a snapshot of someone’s life summarized into 300 words or less, all listing husbands, wives, children, parents, brothers, sisters – people defined once and for all by who they loved/who loved them. Sure, there’s other information in there – illustrious career accomplishments, perhaps, but that never comes in lieu of family.

Now, I’m not going to get into if its good or bad to be close with your family – I’m just saying it is a reference point. You have a reason for how you feel about the people who are in your life and the people who are not in your life.

So, I guess dependent isn’t really a “bad” word. Honestly, the happiest times in my life, I’ve allowed myself to depend on others around me. For example, when I lived in Tijuana, I really depended on people to help me learn Spanish and to understand a new culture. I was like a child, learning everything about this new and unfamiliar place by my interactions with the people around me. I let go of my fierce pride and humbled myself. I put myself in a situation where it was ok to need others.

I lived in the moment. Sure, I had bad days, but there was an undeniable underlying happiness in my soul.

We are taught to value independence, to take care of ourselves, but I wonder if it would be better for us to instead value each other. To allow ourselves to need each other.

I’ll take the first step away from being independent and say:

Dear World,

I need you. I define myself by how we fit together – and where we feel discord – and what I do about that.

I’m not an entity in and of myself, but a part of a whole.

I’m dependent.

And I’m sorry I lied about it on Facebook.

xoxoxoxo

Me

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About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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11 Responses to Little White Lie….

  1. Hocam says:

    Hi, it’s my first time dropping by. I came up with genuine…yes, elegant…I don’t think so, peaceful…can be and no. 4 like you I saw dependent and my reaction was just the same. I looked for the missing in but it wasn’t there. While I know I’m not elegant I just smiled but no way was I going to own “dependent” I’m glad I read your article. It is so well thought out and I agree with you. I hadn’t thought of it like this before.

  2. Janaki Nagaraj says:

    Very honest post. I liked it. The four words I saw were – Happy,
    Patient, Elegant and Peaceful

  3. Jessica says:

    Love, honest, passion, going…in that order..uh oh..Not sure what THAT means..with the “going” at the end! lol…

    Great post. 🙂

  4. Great reflection here, Maureen!
    I do think we are defined to a great extent by our relationships. We are, after all, social creatures and need to love and be loved. Nothing bad about that! 🙂
    Blessings!

  5. Happy
    Patient
    Peaceful
    Outgoing

    Seems a juxtaposition that the words Peaceful and Outgoing define me according to the way this plays. Those words CAN be seen as opposites. But I can see the meaning behind each word I saw here. I believe they DO describe me quite well.

    As w/being happy, I have a story to share here in regards to that word:
    I stopped in The Natural Food Store in Madison the other day to pick up something I needed. As I walked in, there was someone I knew speaking the store owner. The first thing out of her mouth was:
    I know you. Then she paused for a moment and said:
    You look happy. Did you meet someone?

    My first thought was why does being in a relationship have to define our level of happiness? I didn’t answer the question, just deflected it. There are some parts of my life that I don’t share w/EVERYONE. I know! I know! You’re thinking:
    C’mon, Chris! You share everything on your blog…

    Right? I KNOW that’s what you’re thinking. (LoL)

    The point is this person thought I looked happy. I am. My life is perfect right now. I have the best group of friends I’ve EVER had and the single BEST friend I’ve EVER had. So yeah things are great. I’m glad I project that same attitude I believe I have out to the world.

    As usual, I wrote a novella length comment here, Maureen.
    –Sorry (LoL)

    Chris

  6. T says:

    LAZY
    DEPENDENT
    NAIVE
    SHY

    jeebus. this test is not cool! 🙂

  7. This is awesome. These were my words:

    1. Naive
    2. Passionate
    3. Witty
    4. Lovely/Toes

    Unfortunately, I think this describes me pretty well!

  8. newnorb says:

    Mental
    Glove
    Passionate
    Poke
    I do not understand myself 😛

  9. Dan says:

    ROB
    PENDENT
    (forgot my third)
    PASSIONATE

    haha, so I’m a pendent thief! 😮

  10. my four words:

    drama
    naive
    poke
    sweet

    hmmm…..

    my BF and I have spent a fair amount of time discussing dependence vs. independence. our culture is so geared toward an unhealthy version of independence IMHO. personally, i’m aiming toward interdependence…;-)

  11. ps: i don’t want to judge but ‘newnorb’ (above) has a very weird assortment of words, right? haha!!

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